Aarav on the Podium

Our latest Telex competitor to acquire a trophy in the internet jungle of Chess.com is Aarav Gupta (remember the name), an eleven year old from New Malden (Coombe) in Surrey, who is also a key member of his King’s College School chess team.

By exceeding 1650 on the internet ranking list, he is entitled to the rank of Top Club Player with attendant trophy.  

Others who have achieved trophy status are Sophie Wang, Sebastian Mokber-Garcia, Praneeta Karjodkar, amongst the juniors and Julian Way, Alain Talon, Debbie Evans of the seniors.

I have not released a ranking list since August 2021.   At that point lockdown ended and this led to the opening up of society and even some face to face chess activity.

However, training on Chess.com is still valuable, so perhaps if your current chess.com grade has changed, you can contact me on surreyhundreds@gmail.com to let me know.

The trophies are there, all waiting to be won!  

THE CHAMPION’S STYLE

Here are two recent examples of Aarav Gupta’s play.  The first game shows incisive demolition of a pusillanimous opponent.

Black: (Aarav)

1 e4 e5
2 Nf3 Qe7

Diagram courtesy of chess.com

The so called Strong Point Defence, the subject of an Audio Chess Cassette over 40 years ago.  It is very hard to break down, as black reinforces his central pawn at e5.

3 Nc3 c6

And this pawn move is played to prevent a knight incursion on d5.

4 a3 Nf6
5 Be2 d5

White continues with routine development, while black decides to take the initiative in the centre.

6 exd5 Nxd5
7 Nxd5 cxd5
8 d4 Nc6? 

Diagram courtesy of chess.com

An error.  White can now win a pawn with 9 cxd5.  He misses this opportunity and does not get another chance.

9 c3? e4!
10 Nd2 Qe6
11 0-0 Bd6
12 h3 Bc7

Diagram courtesy of chess.com

Black is planning a straight forward attack on white’s king side by … Qd6 threatening Qh2 mate.

13 f4 Blocking the diagonal, but now black switches the attack.

13 … Qg6 and now the threat is 14 … Bxh3 followed by … Qxg2.  White desperately blocks one diagonal, but opens another.

14 f5 Qg3! 

Diagram courtesy of chess.com

The game is virtually over already.  White will have to sacrifice material even to avoid mate.

15 Re1 Qh2+
16 Kf1 Bg3  Threat … Qh1 mate

17 Nf3 exf3
18 Bxf3+ Bxe1
19 Qxe1+ Kf8

Diagram courtesy of chess.com

A rook behind, white resigns.

The next game demonstrates resilient defence in a poor position.

White:  (Aarav)

1 e4 c5
2 Nf3 e6
3 Nc3 g6
4 d3 Bg7
5 Bd2 Ne7
6 Be2 0-0
7 0-0

Diagram courtesy of chess.com

White’s modest opening play, particularly the positioning of his bishops causes black few problems.

7 … a6
8 Rb1 Nbc6
9 Na4

Diagram courtesy of chess.com

An attempt to generate activity that gets nowhere.

9 … d6 10 e5?

And this can only lose a pawn after 10 … Nxe5 11 Nxe5 Bxe5

10 … b5?

Games are often won or lost on the tactical level.  Black over-reacts instead of simply winning the pawn.

11 exd6! Qxd6
12 Nb6 Rb8
13 Nxc8 Rbxc8 

Diagram courtesy of chess.com

By accurate defence, white has avoided material loss, but he still has the inferior game as black controls the centre.

14 Qc1 Nf5!
15 g4?

Riskily weakening the kingside; but at least white is not going to fall for a back row mate!” (see later)

15 … Nfd4
16 Nxd4 Nxd4
17 Qd1 Qe5
18 Re1 Qd5
19 c3? Nxe2+
20 Qxe2 Qxa2
21 Be3 Qd5
22 Ra1 Rc6
23 Reb1 Rd8
24 Rd1 Qb3
25 c4? Rcd6 

Diagram courtesy of chess.com

After some manoeuvring, we are back in the tactical phase of the game.  Black starts to stumble. 

26 Bxc5 Rxd3
27 Rxd3 Rxd3
28 cxb5 (Stronger is 28 Rxa6)

28 … Qxb5
29 Qc2 Rb3 

Diagram courtesy of chess.com

30 Be7!

This sudden counter attack sets black problems.  The threat is a back rank mate starting 31 Qc8+. 

30 … Qb8?       A panicky reply.

Stronger is 30 … h6 to give the black king some air.

31 Rd1!  

Another devastating choice.  Black is caught cold by the threat of 32 Rd8+ winning the black queen.  He could try 31 … Rxb2 (32 Rd8+? Qxd8!) but then after 32 Qe4 he is still in trouble on the back row.

31 … Bxb2?
32 Rd8+               

… and white won.

Diagram courtesy of chess.com

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